The Council of the EU on Friday adopted the decision formally launching the military training mission to Mozambique to support the Mozambican forces in the face of armed attacks in Cabo Delgado, which is expected to be fully operational by December.
The Council (which brings together the 27 member states) announced in a statement the formal decision to launch the mission, called EUTM Mozambique, which aims to support “a more efficient and effective response by the Mozambican armed forces to the crisis in the province of Cabo Delgado, by providing training and capacity building”.
The mission will be commanded on the ground by Brigadier-General Lemos Pires and will become operational “as soon as the ongoing transfer of the Portuguese Armed Forces Training Project is completed”, with the EU Council then pointing out that it expects it “to reach full operational capability by mid-December 2021”.
The mission, which will not engage in military operations, will have around 140 military personnel divided between two training centres – one for commando training and the other for marines. Costs for the mission, to be covered through the European Peace Facility, have been assessed at €15.16 million for a period of two years, the expected timeframe for its operations.
“The mission’s strategic objective is to support capacity building of units of the Mozambican armed forces that will be part of a future rapid reaction force,” the statement explains.
It specifies that the mission, which is open to the participation of third countries, will provide military training, including operational readiness, specialised counter-terrorism training, and training and education on the protection of civilians – especially women and girls in conflict – , and will provide compliance with international humanitarian law and human rights law.
This announcement comes a day after the Government approved the proposal to appoint Brigadier-General Lemos Pires as Commander of EUTM Mozambique, as well as the national contingent that will integrate this mission.
Cabo Delgado province is rich in natural gas but terrorised by armed rebels, with some attacks claimed by extremist group Islamic State.
The conflict has led to more than 3,100 deaths, according to the ACLED conflict registration project, and more than 817,000 displaced people, according to Mozambican authorities.
Since July, the offensive by government troops with external support has allowed for increased security, recovering several areas of Cabo Delgado where there were rebels, including the town of Mocímboa da Praia, which had been occupied since August 2020.